Obama’s Gun-running Operation
If you thought the Isis war couldn’t get any worse, just wait for more of the CIA
Even America’s top spies know that arming rebels is ‘doomed to failure’ – but that can’t stop Obama’s gun-running operation
By Trevor Timm
As the war against the Islamic State in Syria has fallen into even more chaos – partially due to the United States government’s increasing involvement there – the White House’s bright new idea seems to be to ramping up the involvement of the intelligence agency that is notorious for making bad situations worse. As the Washington Post reported late Friday, “The Obama administration has been weighing plans to escalate the CIA’s role in arming and training fighters in Syria, a move aimed at accelerating covert U.S. support to moderate rebel factions while the Pentagon is preparing to establish its own training bases.”
Put aside for a minute that the Central Intelligence Agency has been secretly arming Syrian rebels with automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and antitank weapons since at least 2012 – and with almost nothing to show for it. Somehow the Post neglected to cite a front-page New York Times article from just one month ago alerting the public to the existence of a still-classified internal CIA study admitting that arming rebels with weapons has rarely – if ever – worked:
As the Times’ Mark Mazzetti reported:
‘One of the things that Obama wanted to know was: Did this ever work?’ said one former senior administration official who participated in the debate and spoke anonymously because he was discussing a classified report. The C.I.A. report, he said, ‘was pretty dour in its conclusions.’
The Times cited the most well-known of CIA failures, including the botched Bay of Pigs invasion and the arming of the Nicaraguan contra rebels that led to the disastrous Iran-Contra scandal. Even the agency’s most successful mission – slowly bleeding out the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s by arming the mujahideen – paved the way for the worst terrorist attack on the US in its history.
But as anyone who has read journalist Tim Weiner’s comprehensive and engrossing history of the CIA knows, the agency’s past is a graveyard rife with literally dozens of catastrophic failures involving covert weapons deals to countless war criminals and con artists in an attempt to overthrow governments all over the world. Not only has the CIA failed repeatedly, but oftentimes its plan has completely backfired, solidifying the very power of the actor it sought to remove and leaving the people the agency claimed to be helping in a much, much worse-off spot than before the CIA gun-running mission began.
We’ve already seen Syrian fortunes turn for the worse as the US has stepped up involvement in the past few months, as Bashar al-Assad has gone on the offensive against the US-backed rebels, and as the US airstrikes have reportedly led to Isis and al-Qaida reuniting, after being sworn enemies for more than a year. The two terrorist groups then proceeded to route the “moderate” rebels in combat and are currently in possession of many of the US-made weapons previously owned by the rebels.
Two months ago, the US Congress voted to send hundreds of millions of dollars in more arms to Syria. Even the politicians voting on sending countless more US weapons into the middle of a civil war were kept in the dark about the CIA’s internal report. That should be a scandal, right up there with the torture report the CIA is trying to keep secret, too.
But at least a few in-the-know elected officials were aware of the dangers of insanity of Congress’ Syria vote. The Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim and Sam Stein quoted an unnamed Democratic Congressman in September who was even more blunt, insisting that the CIA’s belief in arming rebels was “doomed to failure”:
‘I have heard it expressed, outside of classified contexts, that what you heard from your intelligence sources is correct, because the CIA regards the effort as doomed to failure,’ the congressman said in an email. ‘Specifically (again without referring to classified information), the CIA thinks that it is impossible to train and equip a force of pro-Western Syrian nationals that can fight and defeat Assad, al-Nusra and ISIS, regardless of whatever air support that force may receive.’
The unnamed Congressman added: “The CIA also believes that its previous assignment to accomplish this was basically a fool’s errand, and they are well aware of the fact that many of the arms that they provided ended up in the wrong hands.”
But the information on the secret weapons that were already flowing into Syria has been kept in hiding from most of Congress. John Kerry refused to answer any questions about the CIA’s activities in Syria when asked by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, despite the news of the agency’s involvement in Syria being on the front page of newspapers for years. “I hate to do this,” he said. “But I can’t confirm or deny whatever that’s been written about and I can’t really go into any kind of possible program.”
Perhaps the most shocking part is that we know Barack Obama himself has read the CIA study and knows that arming rebels in Syria – or anywhere – was an incredibly dangerous idea. Seemingly referencing the study, Obama told David Remnick of the New Yorker earlier this year:
Very early in this process, I actually asked the C.I.A. to analyze examples of America financing and supplying arms to an insurgency in a country that actually worked out well. And they couldn’t come up with much.
So even though the CIA “couldn’t come up with much” proof of any time when sending tons of weapons into a war zone full of extremists has worked in the past, or that the agency itself has told Congressmen arming the rebels was “doomed to failure,” the Obama administration is ready to do just that.
No one doubts that Isis is a horrific terrorist group that’s terrible for the entire Middle East – as it proved over the weekend by barbarically beheading another innocent aid worker – but further entrenching the CIA and its weapons into an already awful situation can really only make things worse. Much worse.
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Results of Western intervention in Libya
By Abayomi Azikiwe
On October 20, 2011, the leader of the North African state of Libya was brutally assassinated in the city of Sirte. Col. Muammar Gaddafi had been leading a struggle to defend his country from a war of regime-change coordinated and financed by the United States and NATO.
Since the overthrow of the Jamahiriya system of government in Libya, the social conditions prevailing inside the country are by no means stable. Various factions, most of which were utilized as ground troops in the Pentagon-NATO aerial war between March 19 and Oct. 31 of 2011, remained locked in a mortal conflict for control over the oil-rich state.
Conflicting sources of political power backed up by armed militias exist in the two largest cities of Tripoli, the capital, and Benghazi, in the east, where the counter-revolution against Gaddafi began. Areas in the south of the country have armed themselves against the US-installed regimes in Tripoli and Benghazi often in sympathy with the previous system under the Jamahiriya.
The two regional states that participated in the imperialist-engineered war against Libya, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have been carrying out periodic airstrikes against alleged “Islamist” strongholds in various locations in the east and west. Also renegade former Gen. Khalifa Hefter, a longtime Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) asset, has mounted a bid for power utilizing sophisticated weapons and airstrikes.
Oil production rising despite internal conflict
For several months during 2014, oil production in Libya was down considerably. Conflicts between various labor organizations in addition to clashes among the militias resulted in the decline of barrels-per-day extraction to almost nil.
A dispute over who could actually sell Libyan oil on the international market was eventually addressed by the US when it sent a naval warship to reclaim cargo traded by interests inside the country who were not endorsed by Washington. Subsequent efforts aimed at the resolution of the disagreements have still not cleared the way for a consistent boost in production.
Unrest has erupted again surrounding which political group claiming authority in Libya would control the proceeds from oil sales. Both the parties controlling the capital of Tripoli, who are often labeled as “Islamists,” and the “government in exile” in the eastern city of Tobruk say they are entitled to the revenue generated from the trade in oil.
With the decline in prices on the global market during October, the situation involving the struggle over the control of oil in Libya prompted the attention of the Wall Street Journal. Efforts by five Western countries designated by the United Nations to reach a political settlement in the Libyan quagmire has failed, and consequently, the major imperialist powers are concerned about the supply of oil and the role of Libya in the process.
“In a joint statement late Saturday, France, Italy, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. said they supported the U.N.-sponsored peace talks and a cessation of hostilities,” noted the Wall Street Journal. “The five governments condemned the violence by Islamist group Ansar al-Shariah, voiced concern about the attacks of the renegade general and said they were ready to sanction those threatening Libya’s security.” (Oct. 19)
This same article went on to point out that “Libya is normally one of Europe’s largest oil suppliers, but disruptions since the fall of strongman Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 have reduced its contribution to the continent’s oil supply.” Therefore, even the publication of the international finance capital has to openly acknowledge that the Pentagon-NATO policy of regime-change in Libya has disrupted oil supplies to the European continent.
The Libya Dawn group, which is contesting control of the state with the ostensible moderate group led by Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani, who called themselves the House of Representatives, sent their own oil minister, Mashallah al-Zawie, to Turkey to participate in an industry conference held in Istanbul. The rival group headed by al-Thani based in Tobruk dismissed the Central Bank director Sadiq Kabir and claims they have control of the revenue from oil sales.
Nonetheless, the Wall Street Journal reports that “officials at NOC (the state-owned National Oil Co.) and at the central bank subsidiary which receives payments from oil buyers said revenues had continued to flow to its Tripoli-based accounts. Mr. al-Kabir also remains in office, they said.”
Such confusion over which entity controls Libyan oil could very well hamper the country’s future production and exports projections. Libyan oil officials say production is at 850,000 barrels a day, marking an increase of 40,000 barrels compared with earlier in October, suggesting that some facilities have boosted their output. In contrast, operations at oil fields in eastern Libya have been interrupted by labor unrest led by workers seeking jobs at the facilities.
Imperialists continue proxy war in Libya
The present situation in Libya is the direct result of the war of regime-change led by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Pentagon and NATO during 2011. US policy is designed to overthrow all of the sovereign and anti-imperialist governments throughout Africa and the Middle East.
Consequently, the outcome of the current situation in the regions of North Africa and the Middle East will be critical in the future course of imperialist militarism worldwide. Obviously, these policies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Syria and Libya have prompted massive destabilization of these societies, including the vast increase in the number of internally displaced persons and refugees.
Libya, which under the years of the Jamahiriya-Gaddafi rule was the most prosperous state in Africa, is now a major source of instability in the region. The response of aerial bombardments from Egypt and the UAE will only further the generalized sense of lawlessness and terror.
Only the Libyan people themselves, united around a political program of national unity, and genuine sovereignty will be able to reverse the current malaise. The plans suggested involving the direct intervention of thousands of NATO troops to Libya under the rubric of the United Nations would eventually result in greater anti-Western sentiments already prevalent throughout the country.
What the role of the US in Libya has proven is that Washington and Wall Street have no rational policy towards Africa and the Middle East. Their interventionist posture will only breed more anti-US consciousness and mass resistance to imperialist control.
US aid worker beheading video a set-up?
An American analyst says the video showing the murder of American aid worker Peter (Abdul-Rahman) Kassig “seems to have been set-up” in line with the “Islamophobic propaganda” behind the ISIL terrorist group.
In an interview with Press TV on Monday, Dr. Kevin Barrett, founding member of the Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance, discussed the reasons behind the Islamophobic nature of ISIL’s media coverage and how it is “designed” as an excuse for further intervention in the region.
“There have been a couple of previous beheadings which appear to have been actually staged, or photoshopped, so again it’s hard to tell what kind of publicity stunt this is, whether it’s even another real beheading or another staged one, or who knows?” Barrett asked.
The video was definitely “a publicity stunt designed to create the impression that there is a huge threat to America that has to be met with by LOTS OF MONEY for the military, intervention in the Middle East and bombing Syria,” he said.
The US bombs in Syria and Iraq have not really been “directed in the most strategic way towards targeting ISIL, but rather towards destroying the infrastructure of Syria,” he added.
Barrett said the “Islamic State” is not Islamic, and only acts as a “false-flag excuse” for the Western powers that want to “demonize” Islam.
“This ISIL group is a false-flag group. It’s not an Islamic radical group. It’s taken up where al-Qaeda left off, al-Qaeda being so heavily infiltrated by Western intelligence agencies that it was turned against Muslims, and against anti-Imperialists. It was turned into essentially a false-flag excuse for Western war on Islam and ISIL has been that from the very beginning.”
Barrett noted that even al-Qaeda dismisses the Islamic nature of ISIL Takfiris and the “supposed teaming up” between al-Qaeda and ISIL in Syria is “all theater.”
“What it is really about is destabilizing the region, providing an excuse for intervention and demonizing Islam,” he said.
“As an American Muslim, I am getting tired of this endless parade of Islamophobic propaganda that we are getting in our American media, with these beheadings. They [media] never show us the beheadings in Saudi Arabia, which happen at a pretty regular basis in ‘Chop-Chop Square’ in Riyadh, we never see those. We only see these dubious ISIL beheadings, which are designed to make Americans think that this is Islam.”
ISIL is not really Islamic, he continued. “They put the name Islamic State in there, just to provide more propaganda effect to make Americans and Westerners hate Islam.”
US President Barack Obama on Sunday confirmed the assassination of Kassig, describing his beheading at the hands of the ISIL terrorist group as “pure evil.”
“ISIL’s actions represent no faith, least of all the Muslim faith which Abdul-Rahman adopted as his own,” Obama said in a statement.
Barrett said that he would agree with what Obama said about the faith that Abdul-Rahman belonged to.
“But I would ask president Obama to go one step further and to reveal the real agenda behind ISIL and to change America’s Middle East policies and turn them away from this enslavement to Zionist expansionism and constant intervention, and step back to become an honest broker helping to maintain peace and stability in the region.”